The costs of poor personal organization in college may seem unimportant at first. What’s few sleepless nights or missed deadlines? But imagine one’s mental state if maintaining such a chaotic regime constantly. Here comes time to count missed opportunities.
Eliminate unnecessary stress and raise your personal efficiency as a student is possible with a smart approach and few useful hacks. In this article we talk about five organization hacks, which will have high returns in the long run.
1. To Bind or Not to Bind Is Not a Question
Some people prefer to keep the notes on each class in a separate notebook. And it’s perfectly fine for notes themselves. However, you’ll be having so many extra papers during the term that a full folder would be required in addition to the notebook. Just imagine printed syllabus, essays, tests, and papers returned with some useful comments, journal articles and research printed out. And you’d love to look through all these at least before the exams.
That’s why we recommend keeping the binders for each of your classes for notes and extra materials. The nicest thing about the binders is their customizable content organization. You can use special dividers to categorize your files – notes, assignments, readings, extra information, recall questions etc. With a hole-puncher it’s very easy to add virtually anything to your binder. That is how with some diligence and discipline you’ll have a tailormade course book to use for exam preparation.
2. Schedule Your Attack Plan for the Assignments
The trickiest part of every new school semester is that it looks pretty easy at the beginning with each subject having an interesting and creative syllabus. Then first assignments start to come in, but deadlines are far away in the future. Until one day you fall asleep at your desk with three different essays barely started.
So, start with a quick reality check. Write down all the assignments for each course with their deadlines. Then estimate the time needed for each of the tasks. Next decide on the approach for dealing with the assignments – you’d like to go one by one or better to break all big tasks into smaller chunks and complete them step by step. Block the dedicated time daily for your work on your assignments.
Beware of the planning fallacy – our brains tend to ridiculously underestimate the complexity of work and its duration. Whatever time you presume would require, add twice that much to be on a safe side.
3. Maximize Your Calendar Use
College is a fun time of course. But you risk getting less fun and more stress studying if you fail to embrace your new life as a project. Project planning entails a lot of work upfront with bigger benefits on the road. It also is a universal skill that will teach you not only how to succeed in college, but also how to get a good job later.
College is time to become hardcore planner. Modern calendars (we’re talking Google Calendar or anything digital) allow for a great combination of useful features:
- Visual presentation of active and free time over the week or a month
- Saving you from typing in the repetitive tasks every time – you can set up a recurrent event instead
- Reminders go off on your phone or laptop
- You can have separate calendars for college and private events
At the beginning of the new term, put all your classes and other scheduled activities in your calendar. Then block the time for your assignments’ preparation, as we’ve discussed before. Even with inevitable changes and shifts a mere look on a well-thought calendar with a balanced life planned would be very satisfactory.
4. Arrange Your Staff
This one is short to describe but takes a lifetime for some to implement. Keep your belongings in order. Think about your habits, lifestyle and needs, and build a system of your own for cleaning and organizing staff. Disarray in clothes and stationery would strain your nerves whenever you’re in a hurry for a class or need to find that specific black pen for a test.
Here are few basic principles to use:
- Take out all your things, break them in categories and create fixed storing space for each of them.
- Put post-it’s in your room reminding you to put everything back where it belongs.
- Declutter mercilessly every month
- Define hot spots where the mess is growing fast and spend few minutes every day to tackle them
Clean desk – clean mind. Same goes to the whole living space of yours.
5. One Tool to Master Them All
With so much studying going online, you may be overwhelmed with all the sites, and apps, and programs potentially helping you. The best option would be to have all the useful digital services joined in one hub, saving you time and precious attention.
There are several ways to go. Firstly, you can use Google office programs, like mail, calendar, drive, documents editor etc. Although integrations are good, you’d still need to install and use separate programs.
Another way is to use some of the comprehensive productivity software, like Evernote, Notion or other similar ones. Notion is rather trendy now and offers literally endless opportunities – you can have whole websites developed here and some say it’s the best resume writing service. But let’s look at its best features for the organization of your studying.
- You can create a personal stylish dashboard for studying.
- Google Calendar can be integrated in your, so you’ll have all the important info in one glance.
- Databases can be your virtual binders with all the materials organized and cross-referenced.
- Smart setups exist for spaced repetition of the course materials or active recall questions, so you’ll have preparation for the exams semi-atomized.
In the end, an app is just the app, depending fully on your desire to make good use of it. But with some efforts such things could make your life so much easier.
Put these 5 hacks to try and see yourself how your productivity is improved. Less stress and more brain power to deal with what really matters for your college success and further career perspectives is the least you could get.
Sherri Carrier is a professional writer and a member of several writing clubs in New York. She has been writing her own poems since she was a child. The young author gets inspiration from her favorite writers and people whom she loves.